Sacred psychotherapy in the "age of authenticity": Healing and cultural revivalism in contemporary Finland

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Like other European countries, contemporary Finland has witnessed an explosion of healing modalities designatable as -"New Age" (though not without profound controversy, [1]). This paper focuses on Finnish courses in lament (wept song, tuneful weeping with words) that combine healing conceived along psychotherapeutic lines and lessons from the lament tradition of rural Karelia, a region some Finns regard as their cultural heartland. A primary goal of the paper is to explicate a concept of -"authenticity" emerging in lament courses, in which disclosing the depths of one's feelings is supported not only by invoking "psy-" discourses of self-help, but also by construing the genuine emotional self-disclosure that characterizes neolamentation as a sacred activity and a vital contribution to the welfare of the Finnish people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)566-589
Number of pages24
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 11 2011



  • Authenticity and the "age of authenticity"
  • Cultural revivalism
  • Finland
  • Healing groups
  • Lament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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